Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

György Ligeti - Symphonic Poem for 100 Metronomes



There is an announcement and a description after the performance.  According to it, the piece takes about ten people to set up the metronomes to the exact specifications of the composer and in the past it required some quick work to set them going.  Then more than thirty years after it was composed, someone who was fascinated by the piece came up with a means of setting the metronomes going automatically.  That's what this video shows.

I haven't had one of those things in close to fifty years,  I dropped mine and it never worked right after that.  I went electric with an old analogue Franz metronome, I loved it because you never had to stop and wind it up but you couldn't play this piece with them.  Nowadays it's all digital without the annoyingly familiar mechanical click.

It's been a long time since I posted a piece of legitimately avant-garde music.  This one is fun.

Update:  Steve Reich - Pendulum Music 1968



Joan Cerveró
Víctor Trescolí
Isabel León
Estefanía Sánchez

Franz Schreker - Kammersymphonie - Two Versions


Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen
Conductor. Jonas Alber
Soloist. Wibert Aerts

score 


Arrangement for Piano Solo by Ignace Strasfogel
Emma Schmidt, piano



I found these in my bookmark list with other files about the activities of Schoenberg's Society for Private Performance, I don't recall if the piano solo version was one of the reductions of new orchestral music played there or not.  But these are performances I listened to when I was writing about that a few weeks back.   I'd not known any of Schrecker's music, though I do know that Schoenberg considered him a fine musician.  He was one of the major composers in Vienna, especially known for his operas, though his career faded even before his death in the early 1930s.  I don't get why, he was a very original and interesting composer.

This piece, in particular is quite magical, both in the orchestral version and in the authorized arrangement for piano solo.  In some ways I almost prefer the piano version.  The orchestration is quite something, though some of the textures and sounds were stolen by cheezy Hollywood composers later in the century.  It's a hazard that lesser composers will steal your inventions.




Nah, it doesn't take those particular organs to write something like that.  What are they going to do?  Not read at me?   They already do that. Call me an antisemite?  Well, Simps has been selling that line for five years now, I've got nothing to lose by telling the truth.   I don't care anymore. 

Just As I'm So Through With Pretending That America Is An Exception I'm Not Making Believe Israel Is One Either

Note:   This was posted accidentally in a first draft earlier this afternoon.  By the time I noticed, it had been reacted to. Though I doubt it had been read.  I had intended to post it tomorrow.   This is a later draft.  Further revisions will probably come as well. 

While it would be hard to identify the stupidest of the regular commentators at Duncan Black's blog, I will admit that there are those even stupider than Steve Simels, the guy who has seldom allowed a day to go by without lying about or misrepresenting what I've said with Black's obvious, almost always tacit,  approval for most days in the past five or so years.   But he's stupid enough to be getting on with.

He is repeating his accusation that I'm an anti-semite because I don't believe states have rights.  States are artificial entities made by people and imposed by those who assent to the formation of a state on those who don't accept that formation.  I think the idea that artificial entities have rights, as opposed to natural beings and human beings is one of the most dangerous of all superstitions. In the formulation of the state I live in it is asserted that all people were endowed by their Creator with rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in that grotesquely inadequate list with which the author of the Declaration of Independence enumerated .

Natural beings, individuals, are the only embodiment of rights, NOT ENTITIES CREATED BY PEOPLE*.  

Even the fashionably deistic members of the Constitutional Convention were at a loss to explain any other origins of rights and, also, their wider distribution than the British conception that associated those with monarchy and class.   The language of the Constitution asserted equality while the writers and adopters of it, those who pledged their lives, their honor their sacred fortunes to its declarations were dependent on violently keeping slaves and the slaughter and dispossession of other people, many of them living in what were, in fact, other nations who they certainly didn't allow any rights.  In the mean time. they enumerated what were later so disastrously termed "rights" to states and to the national government.  Such "rights" especially those allowing the keeping of slaves, led to the unprecedented carnage of the American Civil War and the equally appalling Jim Crow period.  We are still living with the echos of the original intentions of that document, the sacrifice of individual rights and lives to that vague and dangerous language.

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I am only describing the reality of states and why it is extremely dangerous to endow the state with rights, as did the Nazis, the Stalinists, the Maoists, the American Confederates, etc. .  That is something I think will always come at the expense of the rights of individuals and, especially, those groups,  THE PEOPLE,  who the state chooses to oppress and destroy.

That the 20th century atheist regimes, those regimes which attempted most strenuously to put their understanding of science into practice through their various states were notable for the greatest genocides in history, genocides only approached by earlier monarchs and officials who asserted the rights of the state were embodied in their will,  would force the idea that the belief that states have rights is an extremely dangerous delusion.   That such states, obviously, didn't hold that individuals were equally endowed with rights by their creator is certainly relevant to their character and their behavior.  The most extreme current example is probably North Korea, that "workers paradise"  the state with probably the largest percentage of hereditary slaves kept under Stalinist confinement in the entire world.   If there a metaphysical concept backing the reality of the North Korean government it is the idea that the state has rights that obliterate the rights of people.

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That the slogan which  makes threats about "driving Israel into the sea" has been used as much by the champions of the state of Israel as by those who enhance their own status by asserting they will do that, is unfortunate but it doesn't endow Israel with any more rights than it does the Palestinian nation. The majority of voters in Israel and its allies, most of all the United States does everything in their power to suppress any national aspiration of the Palestinian people.  That, does nothing at all to endow Israel with rights it just means that it has the military might and the backing of the United States to do that.  If Israel is to be held to have rights then Palestine has rights, they have the right to not be driven into Egypt or Jordan or into the sea or starved to death in Gaza, as would seem to be, now, long standing Israeli policy.

The future existence of the state of Israel isn't a matter of the state of Israel having rights, it's a matter of it getting along with those people within its borders and outside of those.

The assertion of rights, especially the rights allegedly gained by taking land from people who lived there before the Israeli state occupied it aren't anything that anyone will feel the need to take seriously in perpetuity.   I doubt that the present status will hold for much longer.

That "right" has been asserted for most of the 20th century and it is probably accepted by fewer people today than it was the first time it was made.   I don't think that number is likely to increase as compared to that of those who don't find the present policy of the Israeli government acceptable.

The extent to which Israel can be expected to continue to exist depends on it allowing the Palestinian people to form their own, independent, contiguous state BECAUSE THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE HAVE ABSOLUTELY AS MUCH RIGHT TO DO THAT AS THOSE WHO FORMED ISRAEL DID.   THEY CERTAINLY HAVE AS MUCH OF A RIGHT.

The matter of Israel remaining a state is not a matter of the assertion of superior rights based on the history of the oppression of Jews in Europe.  That is something that the Palestinian people had no hand in.  The demand that they were the ones who had to pay the price of that is grotesquely unjust.  As some pointed out at the time of the creation of Israel, if it were a matter of justice it should have been formed in the European heartland.

That people thought that Palestinians and their cousins in the Middle East would be any more accepting of what happened than they would have in Europe, I think that is due to the same racist assumptions that led Europeans to believe they could forever keep the indigenous populations in their colonies under control due to a belief in their intellectual and moral inferiority.

I will note that when I suggested that a Jewish State would have been more safely established on land donated for that purpose by my own country, the United States -which might barely notice the subtraction - the idea was derided as if the Holocaust had happened here instead of the United States having helped end it.   I still say that a Jewish homeland surrounded by the United States would almost certainly have flourished in a state of peace instead of having been in a state of war for its entire history.

But all of that is a moot point, now.  That wasn't  the path that was taken and the millions of people, ALL OF THEM THE POSSESSORS OF EQUAL RIGHTS, there on the ground in 2016, is the context in which any settlement will have to be attempted.

If it will succeed is unknown but to let the matter remain unsolved because it might fail is only beneficial for the worst of politicians and demagogues.   Such are the ones who have benefited the most  from the status quo.  And the terrorists, they have benefited mightily from this situation.  It is one of the ironies of Israeli history that what began in the aspiration of social democrats is ending up the kind of military state that is the inevitable result of being at a state of war for years and decades.  I think the Jewish people deserve entirely more than that, as do the Palestinian people and, in fact people of other countries in the area and everywhere.   They deserve more because among those rights everyone is endowed with by our Creator are those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

If the most extreme supporters of Israel demand even with all of their dirtiest polemical tactics that the entire world treat Israel as if it were the embodiment of a unique exceptionalism they are deluded. Whether or not they believe that exceptionalism is real, the majority of the world do not and will not ever grant its reality.

The same kind of grotesque and horrible consequences come when that has been asserted by many in United States.   The present assertion of it is a warning sign that we are in grave danger of devolving into fascism,  It is one of the reasons that we face the prospect of an actual fascist being nominated by one of the two real parties here.  Assertions of American exceptionalism have been behind a majority of the worst acts taken by the United States.  The concept of manifest destiny is an assertion of the right of the American state to commit genocide.  Other assertions of the right of the American state and individual states are some of the forces most destructive of personal rights here and around the world.   It is enormously dangerous and it is bound to descend into worse as the majority of the world does not acquiesce to that delusion only to the further rage of the deluded.

And if you think the United States and Israel are the only places that can happen, that the assertion of the rights of states is safely segregated to those two countries, you are deluded.  Russia is only one place where that is also a terrible and grave danger.  The only safe thing to do is to give up the delusion.

Update:  Simels is now telling me to shut up on this topic,  one I hadn't planned on writing about this month.  If he doesn't like that I have said what I have, he only has himself to blame.  I can point out that compared to what Gore Vidal said, I've been entirely even handed on the topic.

* I have commented on the mistake of calling the privileges granted to the press "rights" and how that endangers self-government.  The fabled "Founders" sacrificed clarity in favor of rather minor late 18th century poetry a number of times.

Update to the later revision:  The idea that a Jewish homeland surrounded by the United States would probably have flourished in peace instead of having been in a perpetual state of war since the late 1940s is being derided.   All I can say is that the idea that a Jewish homeland on land taken from the Palestinians, surrounded by them in refugee camps in countries that were hostile to that act and the founding of Israel where it is would eventually flourish in peace is now obviously known to have been a delusion.

I would still be in favor of that offer being made because I think the world would be a much safer place if it happened.  I'd love there to be millions of more Jews living on North America. I'd love there to be millions of more Jewish citizens of the United States.  For some reason my antagonist hates that idea, whereas he's lived here his entire life.   Maybe he just doesn't care for Jews all that much.

Ok, that was said to be provocative.  But it's still the truth.

Update 3:  Again Mr. Simpey claims that there would be more peril in the establishment of a Jewish Homeland surrounded by the United States than in Palestine.  I have to wonder how he could feel secure living in the United States if he's so sure of that.  I don't understand why he hasn't fled the lesser NYC area for that land of peace, security and safety, Israel, if he really believes that.  Why hasn't he fled this hell hole?   Someone once said, "A Zionist is someone who thinks YOU should move to Palestine.

Update 4:  Oh, yeah, Simps, that's because everyone knows that all American anti-semites would love to have millions of more Jews as citizens of the United States.  I have to admit that I've got a selfish motive, I think if there were millions more Jews in the United States we may never have another Republican president and the prospect of a fascist like Trump or Cruz becoming president would be ever so much more remote.

So, if it's so bad here, why are you securely seated in the NYC area?   What a brave guy you are, giving up he safety of Israel for this place of peril.

J. S. Bach - Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 played on Clavichord


Anna Maria McElwain clavichord

I think this piece is one of the pieces by Bach which is most obviously suited for the capabilities of the clavichord.   It's a great piece on any keyboard but its deep intimacy is best suited for the most direct and intimate of keyboards with an ability to produce a large range of volume and subtle alteration of pitch. 

Race, Ethnicity And Class Distinctions Are The Most Enduring Forms Of Discrimination

In the postscript to the piece posted here last Thursday,  I noted how the rights of LGBT people have been advancing as the rights of black people, Latinos, members of other racial groups and women have been either lagging or have gone into reverse.   I noted that could well be because the media representation of LGBT people and, so the idea  of us that most people carry in their heads is of white, middle-to upper class, white collar types, or, really, stereotypes, and so we have benefited from the racism of the media in some ways.  I pointed out that other identities of white people who have been the subject of even grinding discrimination in the past have also benefited from the racism that is rampant in our media elites and ruling class.

But the particular facts of our identity as LGBT people carries its own advantage.  The fact is that no member of the elite, the white, wealthy elite who really run the media and through that have an influence on the thinking of an effective majority of Americans, isn't related to someone who carries the LGBT identity.  No family in the country, in its extended if not nuclear configuration is without lesbians, gay men, bisexuals or transsexuals.  That has been made public sometimes by outing, sometimes by self-outing in even some of our most corrupt Republican-fascist political families as they have used hatred and fear of us for their political and financial gain.  It is as true for the members of the media who have carried the poison of such political and financial elites.   And the same can be said of those in other walks of life, the fundamentalist clergy and ersatz religious figures who do the same. 

The extent to which the advancement of LGBT rights has benefited from our close familial relations with those who would deny us our rights is important to consider because it can account for why racial groups and other groups who are not in the families of those elite oligarchs have been subjected to hate campaigns in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  The almost exact parallel lines going up and down in terms or rights form at the same period.   What should have happened is that all of us should have gained in equality when that's not the case.

Another telling thing to consider is that the rights of women have also suffered in the same period and, so as to show that every group that has been oppressed has to work against its own particular dynamics, no family is male only.   In that case economic class become even more relevant to what is happening.   Look at the women who are in the media, especially the alleged news media.  I'm old enough to remember when the only on-air role for women in news reporting was the two or three minutes Nancy Dickerson had around 3:00 on CBS.  The white women on CNN, FOX, MSNBC and the broadcast networks have been the real beneficiaries of the same affirmative action laws which cover them, even as their networks and shows have promoted politicians who have attacked affirmative action for black people and members of other minority groups, and even white women lower in economic class to them.   I'm sure some of the women in the media and in politics know that better than I could. I'm sure Nancy Dickerson realized that it was her social and economic class that allowed her to pioneer the role of women on TV as much as her abilities and work ethic, many women who were as intelligent and hard working never got the chance she did.   Though I am just as sure that the women who work at CNN and FOX could care less about that or they wouldn't work for those organizations.

There is a class and a racial divide among women and among LGBT people which divides us and is used to weaken any attempt by us to rise as a group.  The divide between black feminists and white feminists was a topic of serious consideration and discussion among feminists in the early 1970s and persists even today.  It is a tribute to feminists that they confronted that to an extent that I don't remember ever even being discussed among gay men.   But the issues of race and economic class which has weakened our attempts at equality won't be suppressed forever, anything which weakens us as a group is a potential opportunity for our enemies.  And, more importantly, it's a matter of morality, a matter of the kind of people we aspire to be.  I don't think that divide is surmountable without economic justice, which means, in the end, an end to the raging disparity of incomes among the rich, the middle class and the poor.   Without that and the removal of class privilege full equality will never be achieved.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gerald Clayton - Deep Dry Ocean



Gretchen Parlato . vocals
Gerald Clayton . piano
Joe Sanders . bass
Justin Brown . drums

I love this album.  Gerald Clayton is a master composer of deep, mysterious and profound music for master performers. 

Betty Carter - Stardust/Memories of You


Geri Allen, Piano

Simpy Says That My Saying States Don't Have Rights Proves I'm an Anti-Semite

If states have rights where do those come from? Your non-god?   Does ISIS(L) have rights? They've declared themselves a state just as the United States declared itself a state, just as Israel declared itself a state.  I certainly don't think ISIS(L) has "a right to exist" though it's no less a self-declared state than any other.  If it could be overthrown and a less oppressive, homicidal government installed, even by outside intervention I'd be thrilled.  

The declaration that "Israel has a right to exist" is a meaningless statement because rights don't just come from declaring them to exist.  If that were true than why can't Palestinians declare themselves a state and any action the United States or Israel took against them would be violating the Palestinian state's "right to exist"?   Did Israel have a right to exist before the state of Israel was declared?  How? And if Israel, why not Palestine, right now?

Considering that atheists like you are routinely in the business of demoting the rights of human beings to less than a sometimes, unequal "thing" you are a total putz.   

Update;  Oh, Simps, what a shocker.  Why can't you answer my questions?  Surely if states have rights you can tell me where they come from and why the Islamic "State" in Iraq or the Levant doesn't magically gain rights by declaring they're a state just as the United States and Israel became states by making that declaration. 

I think you should just fall back on your usual line, "Words fail me," to which I'd note that logic not only failed you but expelled you.  

Update 2:  If "history" is what creates rights for states then I suggest you and I should get our white asses off of North America along with hundreds of millions of others.   What, oh what will you do without your beloved and stolen NYC?   You'd lose any claim to distinction you imagine your being from that burg gives you. 

You can't answer those questions.  There's a reason for that, the idea that states have rights is as absurd as it was when the Confederacy claimed states' rights.   

Update 3:  The idea that Israel is going to be "driven into the sea" is ridiculous.  If that were in danger of happening it would have happened before Israel got nuclear weapons, with them the prospect of that happening is about as likely as the United States deposing the Kim regime in North Korea by military force.  It's about as likely as you getting driven into the Atlantic.  

The fact that states don't have rights is not changed a single bit by the use of that slogan. If you're going to claim Israel has a "right to exist" then Palestine has one and I don't see how you can claim that other groups that declare themselves to be states don't magically get them.   I'll bet you're a big fan of corporate person hood, aren't you, another magically created status for an artificial entity that has millions hoodwinked. 

Update: 4  Simps' audience is the non-readers of Eschaton, he knows there's no danger of them coming here to see what was really said as opposed to his characterization of what was said.  Those guys are so uninterested in what was said that they don't even bother reading what Duncan says, on those rare occasions he goes through the pretense of writing.  

They're not big on complexity or rigorous thought.  They're not too big on rational argument.   Anyone who did that left there ages ago.   It's the Yerassic age at E-ton. 

Update 5:  Obivously the Nazi state was not "the most civilized" country since it murdered many of millions of people - that is unless you figure a country can murder millions of people and still qualifies as "civilized" 

But that brings us to the question of if the Nazi state had a "right to exist".  I don't think it did, you can't escape holding it did have a "right to exist" since it took office as the result of an election, took advantage of a "state of emergency" to vote itself the "right" to rule in an increasingly dictatorial manner, annexed territory to make German settlements. etc.   I don't think any state has the rights to do those things but the Nazi state legally gave itself the "right" to do those things.  

I would say that such facts of real history, instead of yours as read in Bazooka Bubblegum comics,  force the question of states having rights.  I think it's too dangerous to pretend that they do in light of that history. 

Update 6:  Simps just confirmed to me that he considers a state that murders millions of people can qualify as a civilized country. Which, considering everything else I know about him, doesn't surprise me on bit.  The guy is a slimy putz.   I'm publishing that comment in case he lies about that. 

It also confirms that when an athiest can't squirm out of something the chances are they'll say, "No True Scotsman" or some such other irrelevant line. 

Update 7:  Apprently even Mr. Simps understands that he can't sustain his argument about the "rights" of states because now he's trying to equate the rights of human beings with the "rights" of states.  Well, dopey, I already said that rights inhere to individuals on an equal basis.  I guess you didn't catch that.  The Nazis, of course, believed that the state had rights and that individuals didn't.  I'd say that to one degree or another the idea of states having rights always gets to the point of impinging on if not negating the rights of individuals.   If not their lives.  

You really don't understand any of this do you. Something tells me your undergrad program was a bit of a joke. 

Last Update:  Simps is exactly where he started when he discovered to his horror in his ignorance that his hero, Gore Vidal rather publicly despised Israel and that Simps shares the same opinions with such unstylish people as Midge Decter and Norman Podhorez.  I'm rather astonished he didn't know that before hand.   

States don't have rights, they have responsibilities.  Among the most important of those is to not violate the rights of real people, regardless of nationality, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.   I believe those rights are universal, Simps, Decter, Podhoretz, Buckley etc. don't.   And neither did Vidal. 

Gerald Clayton - Future Reflection


Gerald Clayton . piano
Joe Sanders . bass
Justin Brown . drums
Logan Richardson . saxophonists
Dayna Stephens . saxophonists
Ambrose Akinmusire . trumpet

Gerald Clayton is a genius.   I'm giving this album to my niece as a graduation present.

Such A Simple Matter Is Apparently Over Their Heads

I CAN DISLIKE MIDGE DECTER, NORMAN PODHORETZ AND GORE VIDAL.  I CAN EVEN DISLIKE WILLIAM FASCIST BUCKELY AND GORE VIDAL, AND I CAN DISLIKE THEM ALL AT THE SAME TIME FOR DIFFERENT REASONS AND MORE OF THE SAME REASONS THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE THEM HAVING IN COMMON. 

Buckley and Vidal were products of the same elite background and they shared far more of the attitudes of that class than the keepers of the legend of Vidal would ever stand having pointed out.

If your contention that because I no longer like Gore Vidal it must mean I've come to like Decter, Podhoretz and Buckley is true, your liking Gore Vidal must mean you like Timothy McVeigh, Randy Weaver and the other violent, neo-fascists whom Vidal had defended out of what was rather likely perverse fascination with violence and a dislike of egalitarian liberalism.   It could have more to tell you about Vidal's classic WASP elitist racist tendencies than you'd ever want to think about.

I have found out that just about everyone who is an iconoclastic celebrity of the left, especially someone who is rather perversely amoral, as Vidal relished being, will eventually turn out to have feet of clay.  Those who maintain their idealized image of such characters well after they have disproved their own PR will turn out to have heads of clay.  

My dislike of Norman Mailer is for entirely different reasons than my dislike of all named above.  He was a violent sexist pig and like Frank Sinatra he was pretty much phoning it in from the middle of his career to the end of it.  

 Hate Update:  "Buckley, the Pod and Decter were wrong about fucking everything. Mailer and Vidal were right about lots of things,"  

Oh, well, you have to excuse me for as the guy you've been libeling as being antisemitic for the pat five or so years because I'm critical of the Israeli government for being rather amazed that you think those three were and in the case of Midge and Poddy are wrong about everything.   I think you'd find you and they agree that "Israel has a right to exist".  And I'm pretty sure you would agree with them on any number of issues in relation to the state of Israel and the the consequences of its founding in the way it was founded.  You're as close to an Israel right or wrong guy who pretends to be on the left as I've interacted with.  

I don't think states have rights, that rights inhere to people, individually and when considered as groups.  I don't know if I'd agree with any of the above about that but it leads me to conclude that no nation states possess any rights.  The concept of that is a holdover from feudalism in which individual monarchs, feudal lords, etc. asserted that their "rights" were superior to the rights of other individuals on the basis of them being the personification of the nation.  I think, instead, that governments have responsibilities derived from the collective moral obligations of poeple which are even more important to insist on when they act collectively as an entity, magnifying their power.   Those moral obligations are an aspect of the universal possession of rights.

I could go on but I have chores to do that are more important than wasting time on this today and I know you won't understand that.

So, how long have you agreed with things like beating up underage rent-boys and stabbing wives?

George Takei: #VoteBlueNoMatterWho


If you haven't seen it yet.   George Takei is a great American.

If Hillary Clinton wants to be elected and to be a great president she will take the Democratic left seriously in a way that neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama ever did.   If she does that as president she will do more to energize the left than any of our recent presidents.  The agenda Mr. Takei lists in this video is a good beginning, she should also demonstrate that neo-liberal economic theory is discredited and dead.  She should not appoint anyone who Larry Summers or Timothy Geithner would feel comfortable with, she should appoint people who would give them and their side the willies.

Headache And Cranky Blogging

I can report that after two weeks off of caffeine it's not an easy addiction to give up.   Luckily, I've been alone for most of it as my brother is staying elsewhere for a while and my pets have been quiet so I've got no one to be grouchy at.  Well, there are those online but they volunteer to get it.  

The issue is money,  I had to give up my job when my brother came to stay with me.  If I could afford it I'd probably indulge again, though if it cuts down on the insomnia I might not.   I've heard that the first thirty days are the worst.   I hope that doesn't count the two times I backslid on the methadone of coffee addiction, tea.   If so I've only got three days to my credit. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hate Mail - I Have No Opinion About The Sex Appeal of The Overrated Louise Brooks

I am a gay man, I have no opinion about the sex appeal, alleged or real, of the minor movie actress and musical chorus girl of the 1920s and into the 30s, Louise Brooks.  I believe I saw her in one movie, a silent which I don't remember the name of.  And I have to believe that because she didn't make that much of an impression on me to really remember it.  For anyone to compare her with Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo - who Brooks claimed to have had a one-night-stand with, is absurd.

I suspect that most of the people who go on and on and on about her do so, not because of any great distinction on the part of Louise Brooks but because of the article that that fat-headed tyrannical play and movie reviewer,  Kenneth Tynan, wrote about her.  Though, even more likely, due to the interview Dick Cavett did with him in the early 70s.

As to why anyone would take Kenneth Tynan's opinion about the sex appeal of anyone seriously, that's an interesting question in view of Tynan's devotion to sadistic sex.  His first wife, Elane Dundy said, "To cane a woman on her bare buttocks, to hurt and humiliate her, was what gave him his greatest sexual satisfaction."  Others commented on his conceit and obsession with domination of women.  Which I call pathology, not something that would lead to being an authority on the sexual appeal of women.   As I read it in a bit of research for this answer,  Louise Brooks, who said she was a victim of rape at a young age, said that she only found domineering men appealing.  Maybe that explains Tynan's crush on her.  Why it would lead to anyone adopting his definition of that, beats me.  

Though I think that's just the kind of thing that people think they should say because someone said it in The New Yorker or some other trendy rag or heard someone like Tynan say it on the Cavett show.   I can't imagine why anyone would want sex outside of a relationship of mutual love and mutual respect, but, then, that's just my opinion.   If he'd said Jerry Lewis was a genius I'll bet you'd have said that, too.   Lot's of people of fashion say such stupid things because they want to be mistaken as part of the smart set.

Update:  No, I'm sure I'd have remembered if the movie had been directed by Pabst.  So I'm certain you're wrong.   If someone gave me the choice between having the kind of career that Dietrich or Garbo had as compared to that of Brooks I'd have no problem with choosing that of either of the real actresses.  Though I'd rather be Anne Bancroft than either of them.

Update 2:  I don't care what Eschatonian with the pica habit mistakenly thinks she thinks about what I said mistakenly thinks I said.  Apparently such a .... um... "scientist" as she represents herself as being doesn't understand you have to read something to know what it said.  Anyone stupid enough to take Simels' word for it is too stupid to be concerned about, though apparently they can get work in.... uh,  "science".

I do have to wonder how much "science" she gets done since she apparently spends all day every day gossiping there.

Update 3:  I'm no "cinemaphile" I just have a good memory for what I've seen, especially if it made an impression on me.  And I know who Pabst was because he directed the movie of Die Dreigroschenoper with Rudolf Forster as the most malignant of all Mackie Messers and Lotte Lenya as Jenny, singing the definitive Seeräuber Jenny.  Literally definitive as Kurt Weil wrote it for her.



Update 4:   Well, dopey, if you do the little exercise of seeing what movies of Louise Brooks are currently available at Amazon.com you would see that the two she made with Pabst directing are joined by a whole barge load of others.  Now, why don't you let Tlaz eat that barge load of your claims and start from go.  Or do you imagine that someone out in the world which is terra incognita to the most provincial of all people, those whose knowledge ends at the suburbs of NYC doesn't have access to stuff like that?    You guys are so clueless about the rest of the country.

It does amuse me to annoy someone who lies about what I said but it's getting old.

Update 5:  Simples has deployed his vast knowledge of the mathematics of probability and calculated that the chances of my having seen one of the many times more movies that Louise Brooks made than the two that Pabst directed is between zero and zilch, or something like that.  I didn't bother reading it that closely.  Well, tough kugel, cretin, I'm certain it wasn't something directed by Pabst and you can't prove otherwise.

Update 6:  As suspected Simps doesn't have the slightest idea of what life outside of the most over-rated city on the continent is like.  No wonder he thinks everyone else is an ignorant rube as he proves he's an ignorant rube.

I don't watch John Wayne movies, I hate John Wayne almost as much as I hate Clint Eastwood.

Update 7:  His Own Petard or He who spellt it dealt it.

"You demonstrably no nothing about film, film history or acting....." (sic)  Sorry, for someone who seems to think of himself as my volunteer copy editor, I just wanted to point that out.   I'll take it down after a sufficient length of time.

Update 8:  Mr. OCD 1963  is quoting Gore Vidal at me as if that's supposed to mean something to me.  Especially as it is entirely off topic in the clueless way of someone who knows everything they know about Irish Catholics from watching stereotypes on TV and movies by people who hate Irish Catholics.   I'd post it but it would only encourage him.

Gore Vidal is a writer who will not stand the test of time,  And by "time" I mean how many people read his historical novels now?   I'll bet Mr. Sims hasn't read any of them.   If I still worked in a library I'd check the check-out statistics on them but I don't anymore.

By the way, Simps, you familiar with this quote from Gore Vidal, in response to the putrid Midge Decter accusing him of hating the United States?

“Of course I like my country. After all, I’m its current biographer. [he really claimed that] But now that we’re really leveling with each other, I’ve got to tell you I don’t much like your country, which is Israel.”   

Look it up, dopey, as I recall he wrote about that incident, himself in an article in The Nation which was entitled “The Empire Lovers Strike Back,",  I read that it was in the 120th anniversary issue of The Nation, which I've got somewhere in a box.  I recall how amusing Margaret Atwood's essay was, talking about how Canadians resembled Porky Pig with their noses pressed against the glass watching with fascinated and worried horror at the state of things here.  No doubt waiting for the feared Anschluss.

One of the most obvious things you're not supposed to admit about Gore Vidal was that he was an open anti-Semite.  Of all the things in the world to say to Midge and Podhoretz, he chose to go there. So he was an unreconstructed, patrician, WASP elitist for whom restrictive covenants would probably have been OK.  By the time he took Timothy McVeigh to his bosom it was a lot less shocking to me than it once would have been.   See this mornings major post for details on why.   That along with his advocacy of pedophila and his frequent trips to Thailand at the same time he told people that he was a pedophile.

They'll read Vidals dirty books, which are pretty tame, but probably only as long as 3rd rate college instructors assign them.   I was over him a long time ago.


J.S. Bach - Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV 903 - Gustav Leonhardt



Score 

Why Won't They Do What We Want Them To Do - Updated and With Further Comments

Foreword, April 28, 2016 The Modern Witch Hunt Continued


The anger of those who say they will never vote for Hillary Clinton is a manifestation of two things, first, the internalization of many of the same lies that the Republican-fascist right, hate talk radio and television told about Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Clintons may have the interesting status as having been perhaps the the two people in history who have had the most massively expensive, years long,  witch hunt mounted against them without a single criminal accusation being proven or an indictment issued against them.

Not only a massively expensive and long witch hunt but a witch hunt using the willing participation of even the most respected and august organs of the media, those fully participating and cooperating. The New York Times can stand as the emblematic example of "respectable" media that lent an obviously cooperative hand to that effort.  The Washington Post was, if anything, even worse. And that's the print media, radio and TV were the life blood of the thing.  And, most of all, an effort which the federal government and to an unprecedented extent the courts dominated by Nixon, Reagan and Bush appointees, also participated.   I recall that at the time the figure that Republicans in congress, alone, had spent more than $40,000,000 in public funds to "investigate" the accusations against the Clintons.  I remember no charge was too obviously NOT a matter of illegality to be ridiculously investigated in the show trials of that decade, congressional hearings.

I listened to the House hearings into "travelgate" in which the Clintons were accused of replacing seven at-will employees in the White House Travel Office who had been openly operating as political enemies of the administration which was totally justified with firing them for merely being appointees of a Republican administration.  Not only were there hearings in the House but also in the Senate, both of them controlled by Republicans, there was an extensive FBI investigation and a two-year investigation by the Republican witch hunter, Kenneth Starr, appointed by a Republican dominated special division of the D.C. Circuit Court, including the entirely politicized Republican thug in a black robe, David B. Sentelle, one of a number of Republican appointees on the bench who openly participated in that witch hunt.

I would go into detail, including the open use of members of the House and Senate, the Judiciary, appointees in federal positions such as the head of the FBI and others to use this NON-CRIME to rake up the corpse of Vincent Foster as part of the "travel gate" "issue",  who years before committed suicide when the pressure of being hounded by the media and Republicans broke him early in the Bill Clinton administration.   The repugnant Reverend Jerry Falwell had already made use of the suicide of Vincent Foster by, as part of his TV "ministry,"  peddling a video accusing Hillary Clinton of having had him murdered to cover up other phony scandals being invented and pushed by Republicans and the ever cooperative media.

People too young to remember those years should go look at just that one campaign of vilification and lies OVER AN ACTION WHICH WAS ENTIRELY LEGAL if they want to understand where their feelings of irrational unease and disrespect of Hillary Clinton were forged.   The ongoing lie campaign against her began three decades ago.   What they are doing is buying into that media fed and promoted campaign without even being aware of it.  There is nothing subliminal about the message they were infected with except their unawareness of where it came from.

That is one part of the anger of the Anyone But Hillary side, the other is in the disappointment that she didn't do what they wanted her to do as a Senator and, later, as Secretary of State.  I will grant that, just as every single other successful politician, she was unable to fulfill every rational hope and expectation hoped for by the left, even the left which supported her election.  That's the topic of a post I wrote before the mid-term elections in 2006, reposted below, with some corrections.   There is a post-script as well.

--------

Look at it from the position of a liberal to moderately liberal politician. They've done the hard work of winning an election. For liberals in most places just winning the office is proof of an enormous commitment to social change.

A politician has a lot of different constituents, supporters and those who would like to turn them out of office. In a district without a safe majority the office holder has to consider all potential supporters and opponents, trying to figure out how to please supporters and not anger the others sufficiently for the office to be lost. No politician out of office can make good political change. Even a moderately wishy-washy politician can sometimes do good in office. If only by preventing someone worse from holding the office. There are few Democratic politicians who do not believe that they are in it for the general good. It would be unwise for anyone who has fought a hard campaign to win office to act in ways they know will lose it to someone who is reliably worse. Few of ours are so stupid.

Given these facts, what can the left do to make itself a stronger factor. What can we do to change the situation? First, we can face the truth about the left's political weakness and its causes. Here are two examples.

Nader took on the mantle of the left in the last three presidential elections, two times with the support of the Green Party, explicitly a party to the left of the Democratic Party. He openly played spoiler and helped put the worst president in our history into office in 2000. In his typically modest fashion he claimed credit for electing Democrats lower down on the ballot while accepting no responsibility for the disaster he brought about. The exercise was an attempt to "move the agenda". Then he tried to do the same thing in 2004, well after any sane person could see how well that had "moved the agenda". Rational Greens had had enough of him by then but some Nader cultists formed a rump effort. Though less of a problem, they were certainly no help. In other races similar actions of "the left" have been less than helpful in the effort to prevent right wing hacks from taking office. I believe it was Ronnie Dugger who once commented on the folly of the race that had put John Tower into office. Given this personification of "the left" as back-stabbing spoiler, is it any wonder that Democrats who hold office would be somewhat ambivalent about working with "the left"?

Politics contain an agreement between the candidates and the people who support them. They promise to promote issues in the agenda of the people who put them into office. A politician has to hold office to do that, out of office they are powerless to make real change. Any politician knows that the entire agenda of their supporters won't be put into effect. And their supporters have to accept that as a given. Sometimes there are conflicts in what supporters want. Choices have to be made on the basis of possibility and practicality. Democrats in office have a good excuse to be skeptical of the support of "the left" even as they try to do what is impossible in the present situation of total Republican control, hold the gains of the past. The frankly bratty response of many leftists to just about anything Democrats do, even as they hopelessly support bills and amendments closer to what "the left" wants, must give our politicians pause. Given our recent history and the present situation "the left's" insisting, beyond any connection with reality, on having it all does nothing to help the situation. Anyone who doesn't start off realizing that we are not going to get more than a part of what we want should consider it now.

Any thinking leftist supports the right of gay people to marry. It is a personal right and a matter of equality and basic decency. But there isn't a single right people have, the exercise of which isn't conditioned by the situation they find themselves in. Many rights are impossible to exercise due to societal attitudes that take years or longer to change. That is a sad but plain truth. When the state court in Massachusetts forced the implementation of that right a lot of us knew it was a disaster for real progress on all issues, despite our agreeing with the decision. By that time it was clear that John Kerry was going to be the nominee and that this issue would be used by religio-fascists to defeat him, making it impossible to remove the worst president in our history. The rights of lesbians and gay men, not only to marry but in all areas, would be hurt around the country by this decision. And Bush staying in office would also hurt the rights of countless others. Even the decision of the court seemed to be a temporary victory and could be overturned by the voters, something that for the president seems to be less of a danger than it did then. Our fears about every other issue involved have turned out to be entirely true.

Short of the most drastic emergency, no politician in their right mind will attempt to do the impossible and end their career in the process. A few leftists in safe seats, almost all who happen to be in the House, are able to push items that would spell political death for more moderate politicians. They provide a service to the truth but their ability to do more that raise the issues is limited by the public's acceptance of them. Unlike the Supreme Court, or at least the long gone Warren court, the legislative branch can't go beyond the electorate's acceptance to do the right thing.

The supreme example, the Warren court's civil rights decisions, were obviously not that far ahead of the possible. Truman's integration of the army and the fact that it hadn't been destroyed by it must have given them the confidence to do what they knew was right. But even those decisions contained language that made the process much more gradual than it should have been. Black children always had the right to attend any school but it was not possible for them to exercise that right before conditions in the entire country allowed them to do so with some safety. Lesbians and gay men have had the right to marry for just as long but the conditions which will allow the exercise of that right are not here right now for most of the country. The history of "marriage protection" laws around the country demonstrate that. It is worse than a waste of time to insist on our politicians falling on their swords over the issue, this year. It prevents them from winning elections, doing part of what we want and so really "moving the agenda". The self-defeating attempt to force them to do the impossible deflects us from the hard work of laying the essential groundwork in the general public.


Post Script 2016.


No one in 2006 could possibly have predicted that within 12 years of the Massachusetts state supreme court legalizing gay marriage in that state that it would have become the law of the land.  I had used it as an example of what the issue became in the 2004 election in which the Democratic nominee was the Jr. Senator from that state, John Kerry.  Every election year the Republicans mount a hate campaign, one which they figure will motivate haters and those who have an irrational fear of some group or another.  In 1988 George H. W. Bush used blatant racism that way in the infamous Willie Horton ads,  Ronald Reagan had used racism in a similar way.   As LGBT rights gained ground the Republicans used fear of us to win elections.   They are doing that this year in the ridiculous cause to protect bathrooms from transgender people - as if they don't use the rest room that their appearance would make them not stand out in, today.   The fact is, that there is little to, really, no news about transgender people using public toilets - I've never, once heard someone remark on having noticed it happening, which leads me to believe it's been done for decades with no one noticing.*

I had no reason to expect that the issue of gay marriage would catch on as quickly as it did and while, of course, I'm entirely thrilled to have had that happen, it isn't without its troubling aspects.

In a period when even more basic rights of black people, of Latinos seems to be going backward, under a similar hate campaign, I have to conclude that one of the reasons that gay marriage gained acceptance is the entirely wrong and irrational view of gay men and lesbians as being white, middle and upper class, white collar people.  I suspect that  is because that is the media and entertainment image of gay men and lesbians that is seen most often, it is the kind of gay man and lesbian who are personally known to and related to people with power in the media and in government and in the courts.   While the issue of gay marriage is an issue of civil rights, rights which benefit black, Latino and other gay men and lesbians, that isn't the media image of it.   What is unsettling is the timing AS COMPARED TO THE LINGERING RACISM OF THE MEDIA, THE POLITICAL CLASS AND THE COUNTRY.   I think the timing of the gay marriage issue's becoming a settled, even unremarkable aspect of American culture is not unlike that of the advancement of Irish people, Jews and others who are mostly white while black people, Latinos and others, including Native Americans are not allowed to advance.

And I would include women in that group because in many ways the rights of women have stagnated, certainly for women who are not daughters of privilege and wealth.  But even they are not allowed to aspire to the highest positions, even when proven to be massively qualified and competent, as Hillary Clinton has proven more than just about any previous contender for the presidency.  I think a lot of the Anyone But Hillary feelings on the left are motivated by the fact that she is a woman.   No doubt there will be many occasions in the coming months to point that out.

And I'd ask why would someone BE NOTICING what someone else is doing while they are using a toilet? It would seem to me that these obsessive, even compulsive bathroom monitors are really voyeurs in our midst masquerading as those defending us from people who haven't seemed to have attacked anyone.  Come to think of it, it's like the "voting fraud" issue where there is nothing there but political opportunity by the Republican-fascists to gain power so they can steal everything. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Rope To Hang Ourselves With

Note:  This first appeared on my first blog, olvlzl, almost ten years ago.  I was reminded this morning that there are upcoming conventions,  in states and the national convention.   Not a single second of time should be wasted on arguing about that most stupid of all holdovers of American politics, the party platform.

Two of our local delegates to this weekend's Maine Democratic Convention gave independent confirmation of their frustration over the same issue. The platform presentation was over long, divisive and futile. Granted they've both heard me lather on about party platforms but it was interesting that was the first nonsense they reported back to us about.

The only use I've ever seen a platform put to was for our opponents to smash us over the head with planks they'd pulled out of it. If a candidate tries to stand on a platform they fall off. Most of ours aren't that stupid anymore but they always have to deal in some way with the useless thing.

I challenge anyone to come up with instances where platform planks have made a bit of difference in legislation adopted or lives improved. A direct link from the adopted plank to the signing by the executive to its being made real by implementation. In best platform form, include a footnote giving the length of the fight, the bad blood spilled over the struggle for every last splinter and the problems it created for the candidate. No group has ever lost a thing in real life if they weren't mentioned in the entirely unreadable resulting document.

Platform committees too often become the tiny, little piece of turf of people who have little to say, who say it at great length and who do little else. They fight like mad over that turf using the weapon of competitive scruples, a weapon whose only use is to commit political hari keri. Anyone showing these tendencies should be diverted into something else. They should be put in charge of refreshments or some other innocuous detail that could benefit from their fussy gifts. Not entertainment or continuity, however. They've already shown a talent for wasting time, they don't need any more chances to practice on the innocent.

I suppose we must have a platform since if it is entirely absent the Republicans will make that into a campaign issue. It should be as short as possible. It should be something our candidates can run with and not run into. And to avoid future time wasted on platforms that could be better used in actually winning the election, it should be something that will be the real focus of all our efforts until it is really implemented. How about this.

Democrats believe that all People have rights just because they are people. They have their rights no matter what race, gender, ethnic group, etc. People have a right to nutrition, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education. They have a right to an environment that will sustain life. They have a right to just pay for their work and an opportunity to have a good job. We believe that government's only legitimate purpose is to help People enjoy their rights. The Democratic Party is dedicated to finding ways to provide this opportunity to everyone, to making those ways into law and to the full implementation of those laws to make peoples' lives better. We believe so completely in democracy that we will peacefully promote its expansion to the entire human race so everyone can enjoy the blessings of freedom. When we have fulfilled these planks we can discuss secondary issues.

If anyone can find anything that the Republicans can use to defeat our candidates in that, please remove it immediately.

Not Everything Eugene Debs Famously Said Stands The Test of Time

Sometimes a great slogan turns into the stupidest thing you can say.

Having mentioned the lunacy of the left surrounding San Francisco Bay yesterday, I read this alternative analysis of one of my arguments by the New York writer, Jim Sleeper, on the webzine, AlterNet.

The second reason given to Sanders enthusiasts for folding themselves into the Clinton campaign rests on cautionary history lessons: In 1968, Richard Nixon narrowly defeated Hubert Humphrey, a capable, committed liberal Democrat, because anti-war leftists refused to vote for a man who, as Lyndon Johnson’s vice president, hadn’t opposed the war. In 2000, Ralph Nader “purists” handed Florida and, thanks to the Supreme Court, the presidency, to George W. Bush, who wreaked havoc upon a republic that Al Gore might at least have preserved. Now, Bernie’s supporters are cautioned to imagine a Supreme Court with one or even two more Republican nominees, not to mention the havoc that either Trump or more Republican “voodoo economics” would wreak.  Dissent magazine co-editor Michael Kazin reminds us that the problem with this argument was well-expressed by the early 20th-Cenutry American socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs: "Better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it." You may really, really not want about 80 percent of what Clinton would design and deliver. 

The Debs quote would seem to be the authority on which Sleeper makes his argument against learning from the disastrous elections in 1968 and 2000, he seems to forget 1980, though I still think it belongs in that pattern.  I voted for Barry Commoner that year, which I regret.  Carter was definitely undermined from the left as well as from the right.   Can anyone really say with a straight face that the country and world wouldn't have been better off if Carter had won that election?

The big problem with depending on the slogan by Eugene Debs is that it was made in 1912, the early 20th century context of the Democrats and Republicans of that period and in a heady period when his own Socialist party was electing people, even as he didn't foresee it being attacked and destroyed from the left seven years later.  At his worst, Barack Obama has certainly not been anything like Woodrow Wilson and Wilson wasn't as bad as the alternatives put up by the Republicans, if you want to see the proof of that, look at the solidly Republican 1920s and what that led to.  Debs slogan, if used in 1932 may have lengthened the reign of Herbert Hoover setting the United States up for an even worse depression and risking it turning to a fascist strong man as so many European countries with more robust parties of the left did.  And, in fact, if followed as Sleeper is advocating, it could well have led to Republican-corporate one-party rule in the United States.  Nixon in 1960 instead of in 1968,   It would have meant McCain-Palin in 2008.  There would be no stalemate on the Supreme Court, there would have been a series of horrific rulings by a seven to two majority, if not worse.

I don't know what Jim Sleepers' income level is but know he's a product of Yale-Harvard and works in the milieu that brings him work at such Ivy institutions as Harvard and Columbia and Yale,* so I doubt he's among those who would feel the pinch of a Trump presidency first.   And when I say pinch, I mean what a man of his class is likely to feel at the worst.  I'm not talking about the crushing weight it will bring on the underclass, members of racial minorities, LGBT folks.   I also don't know his sexual orientation but I can tell him that when people "vote for what you don't want" what we actually got included every single civil rights law that has been passed in the last century, state governments that passed civil right laws and anti-discrimination laws.

The issues for the left less at risk is more theoretical and whimsical than it is for those targeted by American fascism, which is what the Republican alternative to the Democrats is in 2016.

If Eugene Debs slogan had been consistently followed I doubt a single one of those things would have been adopted.  My identity would still be illegal and punishable by a long prison sentence.  The Democratic Party that made those laws is not the Democratic Party that Eugene Debs set up as a straw man in the brief period of the ascendancy of his Socialist Party, that old Socialist Party which was destroyed, again, from the left.   The left which used similar thinking to reject the practical socialism of Victor Berger because it wasn't fast enough and, really, what was probably their problem with it, working for something real was so much less exciting than talking "revolution".

For someone with the chance to learn from the experience of the past century to be using that slogan in the context of this year's election is proof that not only the old ideas of the past often need to be retired, so do the slogans because they prevent people facing the reality they face instead of that of a century ago.   That the small journal-elite university class of radicals is still resorting to them only shows how out of touch they are because that's the kind of out of date thinking they depend on.


*  Michael Kazin is another Ivy and Ivy Equivalent product,  Harvard and Stanford who works in a similar milieu to that of Jim Sleeper, places like Georgetown.  The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars,  William and Mary, etc.   It is remarkable how many of those who make such decisions about what is best for those of us in or near the poverty line work in those establishment venues.  

Note:  I do like some of Jim Sleepers work, I liked a lot of it in The Nation when I was a subscriber.  But, then,  I hadn't thought hard about just what kind of a track record of success such journals have had.  I've only done that, myself, in the past ten years.   I recommend looking at the history of the left as if actually getting something accomplished were the goal instead of posing and preening as a means of getting work in elite institutions and getting published in small journals. 

Also note, AlterNet is one of those sites I no longer link to because of their advocacy of bigotry. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Feminine Men - Tali Rubinstein

Tali Rubinstein - singing, recorders
Yotam Ben Or - harmonica, vocals
Jamahl Smith - bass, vocals
Asher Kurtz - ukulele, vocals
Angelo Spampinato - percussion, vocals

A few years back I posted a number of videos by the young jazz recorder player Tali Rubinstein.  I wondered what she is up to these days and found this.   I defy you to not smile.